Kataweb Music OCTOBER 11, 2004 - by Alessandro Besselva Averame


The leader of King Crimson and the ex-Roxy Music member have been collaborating since 1972. They're together again on The Equatorial Stars.

Having sporadically continued their collaboration for the past decade, Brian Eno and Robert Fripp have released an album after a break of almost thirty years. The Equatorial Stars is the title of their new work (a co-Opal/DGM production, available online via the respective artists' websites). The premise is always the same and even if the technology has evolved, the unexpected continues to be a basic ingredient of their association. It's the same old Eno talking about the genesis of this record, referring in particular to a technological incident that prevented the two from enjoying the results on the first day of their work together.

Within the structure of The Equatorial Stars, we encounter a Fripp who is a relatively long way from King Crimson, one that is so metallic and heavy as to draw testaments of appreciation from Tool, with whom he subsequently played. We're talking about Fripp minor, who his more attentive fans know primarily through his solo work, but with a sentimental and lyrical feel that has not been on display in ages. This is also due to Eno who knew, as usual, how to provide an appropriate, almost impalpable, sonic foundation for the characteristic prolonged liquid phrasing of the guitarist from Wimborne.

At the moment it's not known whether the album will be followed by concert performances. It would be interesting, given the return in grand style of Kraftwerk, to again see these two deliberative artists working with their tools and focusing on the stage, leaving the machines in complete solitude. Just like it frequently happened during concerts in the mid-'70s.

Robert Fripp and Brian Eno first met in 1972 during the recording of Matching Mole's Little Red Record, an album that the first produced and on which the second participated in the capacity of incursive noise-maker. That year Fripp, guitarist and leader of King Crimson, was reorganising his band while Eno's confined role as sonic agitator with Roxy Music was beginning to wear thin on him. A September afternoon found the two improvising in Eno's studio using a new technique which involved two Revox tape-recorders: the musical signals went back and forth from one recorder to another, lengthening the guitar's notes to a very slow and almost imperceptible fade. The fruits of that afternoon's session combined with a meeting in Command Studios the previous summer - again with tape-recorders as well as sequencers and effects - provided the material for No Pussyfooting. Some hypothesised that the album was released in haste and anger in 1973 in so much as Eno - booted out of Bryan Ferry's Roxy Music following the appearance of For Your Pleasure - owed money to the EG record company.

Inferences apart, the association of Fripp and Eno - further documented by the successive release of Evening Star in 1975 - reveals itself to be of fundamental importance in terms of the progress of their respective careers. Fripp perfected their recording technique, naming it frippertronics. Eno, using the ideas developed during the recording of their albums, went on to experiment with the concept of ambient music.